One could reasonably say that tinnitus isn't a terribly sexy condition and that tinnitus fundraising must be a tough job. And that's probably true. But although tinnitus won't kill you, it can make your life miserable and your mental health a wreck. I am a tinnitus sufferer and supporter and what ATA provides for me is support, ideas for products to help me manage my symptoms and notices about local tinnitus sufferers' meetings. I am proud to support their mission and their research for a cure.
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I was recently diagnosed with Meniere's disease and nocturnal tinnitus is one of my symptoms. While initially discouraged and seeking another diagnosis that would let me hope that it would be a temporary condition, I am starting to use coping skills I learnt through the ATA. I find them very helpful and always ready to answer to my questions. I just wish they had a local chapter in the Northeastern US.
Let me start by saying that I have been suffering from Tinnitus for quite some time. When my audiologist told me that there was an organization who's sole purpose was to provide information and help for this affliction, I didn't waste any time in logging on to their website. From the first email a few years ago, the staff at ATA have been very helpful in answering questions and providing information on services and products that help in coping with tinnitus.
Something that sets this organization apart from most others is their uncanny ability to keep things personal. By that I mean that the ATA has always maintained a level of professionalism that one would expect from a non-profit organization, but they have always made me feel like they were a small, local group of professionals. They have been responsible for helping me in many ways, from info on relaxation techniques to help me get through the rough days, to obtaining my sound pillow which provides needed "white noise" to help me sleep better at night. They have fielded many phone calls and emails from me, helping me to find specialists in my area, give me info on current research projects, and linking me up with a support group that recently started up in my area (who knows how long I would have gone before discovering it on my own).
They are upfront about letting you know that, while there is not yet a cure, their ultimate goal is to find one.
The annual Tinnitus walk has been a great way for me to get the word out to others, and also do my small part in helping to raise funds for research.
I have served as a board member of the American Tinnitus Association, and currently help as a volunteer. I have always respected how the staff and directors of this organization realized that the old mission of being an information and support organization had been superceded by the advent of the internet, so the organization was retooled from the ground up to pursue the ultimate mission for a health-related organization -- to cure tinnitus. The ATA devised its "Roadmap to a Cure" to show the scientific pathway we intended to follow. It overhauled its website to focus on raising funds and other resources for tinnitus research. And the ATA did these things without losing the communication and compassion skills that have made this organization the lifeline for many people suffering from tinnitus. The ATA leverages its staff to fulfill many functions at the same time. Through skillful planning and preparation, volunteer efforts are channeled into the most productive avenues -- for example, the Advocacy department first was the prime mover to encourage research by the Dept. of Defense into tinnitus, and then allowed for volunteers such as myself to offer our services as unpaid consultants to the DoD on funding research proposals. Finally, the ATA is a good steward of donations -- they make a budget and stick to it, and never lose focus on the organization's mission in the process.
As the husband of a severe tinnitus sufferer, I can attest to how difficult this affliction can be. Like many millions of other sufferers, my wife struggles each day to live a normal life despite the persistent noise that only she can hear. As maddening as the noise can be, it's equally maddening we know so little about how to silence it. The American Tinnitus Association is one of the few entities that gives hope to tinnitus sufferers and their families. They are advancing research into cures and enlightening policy makers in Washington, D.C. Importantly, ATA also raises awareness about tinnitus among the general public and they provide forums where those suffering from it can gather to discuss treatments and coping mechanisms.
The ATA has been there when I have needed them in the past. I first ran across them online when I was searching for info about my tinnitus, and then followed up with them for more information. They sent a great info packet and I did wind up sending in my membership money. I figured it was a pretty good deal, and I was right! I have been happy with the magazine (Tinnitus Today) and get some good email updates as well. I am hoping that our support will lead to a cure soon, and the research that the ATA funds (and helps get the Gov't to fund!) seems to be getting closer and closer. I hope to one day be able to enjoy "silence" again.
The ATA fiercely advocates for increased public awareness of tinnitus suffering and provides resources and quality information for those that seek help for their tinnitus. I am impressed by the dedication from this organization in raising the bar for funding of top quality research towards finding a cure. They provide essential support and advocacy on an individual, local, and national basis. Support for the tinnitus community is unparalleled.
I first developed Tinnitus 11 years ago. It came on quickly and I sought medical treatment from my ENT doctor within the week. Following an exam, I was told that my ears are fine and that I had something called Tinnitus. I knew nothing about Tinnitus and asked what couldbe done for it. I was told nothing, I was told to go home and live with it. I paniced at the thought of living with this sound intrution 24x7, 365 days a year. I was in great dispair and became very anxious and depressed. I frantically search the web for a magic elixer or therapy to stop the ringing. I ran across the ATA website and they had a support line which I called. I explained my situation to the support person and she could sense the panic in my voice. She started by reassuring me that things could be done to alleviate the symptoms and she also told me that they were working hard with researchers all around the world to solve this problem. She did not offer me a cure but she did offer me hope. And hope is a powerful thing for someone at the end of their rope. With the help of the ATS, I've learn to live with my Tinnitus and utilitze many of the coping techniques suggested by them. Had it not been for me stumbling across there website 11 years ago, I'm not sure the story would have ended so well. I'm a big advocate of the ATA, they do very important work.
The American Tinnitus Association has been a lifesaver for hundreds of people over the years. Tinnitus can be a devastating malady for those who suffer with it day and night. A good analogy for what tinnitus may be like for some is to strap an electric hair dryer to your head and turn it on and leave it there for the remainder of your life. Sounds unpleasant. It is. I have had tinnitus for 18 years and it changed my life. I look forward to the day when a cure is found. ATA is funding research projects every year. It takes money to fund these projects and that is where the public needs to help. If you can spare a few dollars, or many, go to www.ata.org and contribute. Almost 50% of soldiers are coming back from the wars with tinnitus... they need your help too.
My experience with the ATA has been a positive one.
I was diagnosed with Subjective Tinnitus in November of 2009. For the first three months, I felt completely isolated with my condition until I joined the ATA. I don’t regret one moment of that decision. Their support site has allowed me to not feel alone in my struggle to cope with the noise in my head. Whether it’s been one month or 25 years, living with Tinnitus is never easy. It challenges us in ways that others cannot imagine. “It’s maddening”, as one friend quoted. Talking with others on the ATA support site has given me hope for the future. I’m most impressed with the people who work for the ATA. They consistently have a presence on the support site with updates on meetings and the latest news on research and tinnitus treatments. The staff has also been most accommodating to me with prompt responses related to any questions or concerns. It’s comforting to know that this organization is fighting for us every day. I’m proud to be a member of the American Tinnitus Association.